Boston Blanked By Anderson

    Smoltz Falters In Red Sox Debut At Fenway Park

On a night where Nomar Garciaparra made his anxiously-awaited return to Fenway Park for the first time since being traded in 2004, 21-year-old Brett Anderson stole the show for the A’s, throwing a complete game two-hit shutout to lead the Oakland Athletics to a 6-0 victory over the Boston Red Sox. 

Anderson struck out nine hitters, out-dueling John Smoltz, who made his first start at Fenway Park in a Red Sox uniform.  Smoltz lasted six innings and gave up five runs on ten hits to one of the worst offense’s in all of baseball. Garciaparra didn’t disappoint in his first game back in Boston, knocking in one run on two hits.

The Sox were blanked by a rookie at Fenway Park for the first time since Jim Abbott in 1989.  Aaron Bates made his Major League debut on Monday night, getting called up from Pawtucket in place of Jeff Bailey who went on the 15-DL with a sore ankle.

Josh Beckett takes the hill on Tuesday for Boston as the Red Sox ace will look to get the team back on track against the A’s.

(AP Photo) (AP Photo)

Wakefield Selected Along With Five Others

   Red Sox Lead The MLB With Six Players Going To The All-Star Game

The Boston Red Sox will be represented by six players at the Summer Classic on July 14 as Tim Wakefield received his first All-Star selection in 17 seasons.

Wakefield joins Josh Beckett and Jonathan Papelbon as the three Sox pitchers to be selected as Kevin Youkilis, Jason Bay, and Dustin Pedroia were the three position players selected with the latter two picked as starters.  

Boston has the most players selected for the All-Star game with six with the Tampa Bay Rays and New York Mets in second with four players selected each. Many worried that Wakefield would not get the nod due to his high ERA and knuckleball status.  Fortunately for Wakefield and the Sox, baseball fans thought otherwise and voted for the 42-year-old.

Mike Lowell Placed On The 15-Day DL

   Sox Third-Basemen Experiencing Tightness In His Hip

We all remember the Mike Lowell of the 2008 American League playoffs.  We cringed everytime he swung the bat and everytime he made a play at third.

And so did he.

After having hip surgery in the offseason, Mike Lowell returned to his usual self early on in the 2009 season.  But recently, the Red Sox third basemen was on a skid at the plate, dropping to a .282 batting average and hitting a meager .206 in the month of June.  Lowell recently started to feel discomfort and tightness in his surgically repaired right hip causing the Boston favorite to start only two games in the past 13 days.  

Lowell is eligibile to return from the disabled list on the last day before the All-Star break which most likely means the right-hander will return on July 17, the first Red Sox game after the Summer Classic.  Terry Francona and the Sox hope that an extended lay-off will be exactly what the doctor and Mike Lowell ordered.

Red Sox Stage Their Own Comeback

Not to be outdone the Red Sox put together a comeback of their own. Papelbon became Boston’s career leader in saves on a day when the Sox put together a 4 run ninth inning. Juliio Lugo put together a clutch single in the 11th to drive home the winning run and Papelbon shut the door earning his 133rd save with the Red Sox outshining Bob Stanley at 132.

Other game highlights- Daniel Bard struck out 4 in 2 innings.
Youkilis knocked in a 2 run HR

Box Score

Youkilis & Teixeira Battling For All Star Nod

The Boston Red Sox’s Kevin Youkilis has moved back in front of the New York Yankees’ Mark Teixeira with two days left in AL balloting for starters for the All-Star Game in St. Louis on July 14.

Youkilis had 1,915,303 votes in totals released Tuesday to Teixeira’s 1,875,256. Last week, Teixeira was ahead by 35,632 ballots.

Texas Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler’s lead over Boston’s Dustin Pedroia was cut to 6,830, down from 58,390 in totals released last week. Kinsler has 2,170,100 votes to Pedroia’s 2,163,270.

Maintaining their leads were Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter (3,046,813), Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria (2,988,363), Minnesota Twins catcher Joe Mauer (2,851,819) and outfielders Jason Bay of Boston (2,609,913), Ichiro Suzuki of the Seattle Mariners (1,802,826) and Josh Hamilton of Texas (1,635,781).-Associated Press

Orioles Pull Off 10 Run Comeback To Beat Sox

O’s Stun Red Sox At Camden Yards

Many Red Sox fans were hoping that Tuesday night’s came would not be called off due to rain.  Well with a 10-1 lead going into a lengthy rain delay, you would’ve been crazy to have thought otherwise, but now Sox fans may be wishing that Mother Nature held on with her finest for the remainder of the evening.

The Baltimore Orioles rallied with five runs in the seventh and eighth to cap off a miraculous comeback and stun Terry Francona and the Boston Red Sox.  John Smoltz started the game but was pulled after a lengthy rain delay.  Smoltz went four innings allowing one run on three hits but was followed by Justin Masterson who allowed five runs in two innings of work.  It didn’t get much better for the Red Sox bullpen as Hideki Okajimi allowed four runs in the seventh and Takashi Saito allowed one run in the eighth to take the loss for Boston.

The local nine came out of the gates firing on all cylinders with two runs in each of the first two innings capped off by a five run fourth.  But the Sox bats cooled down after the rain and the O’s heated up to complete the largest comeback in Baltimore history.

Boston will look to bounce back on Wednesday, the first day of July, and take the series from Baltimore.  Josh Beckett takes the mound for Boston as the Sox ace looks to keep up the winning in July as the Sox went 18-8 in the month of June.

(AP Photo)

Braves Snap Four-Game Skid Against Sox

Red Sox Lose A Nail-Bitter In Atlanta

The Boston Red Sox were unable to complete a series sweep of the Atlanta Braves on Sunday as rookie pitcher, Tommy Hanson, led the Braves to a 2-1 victory over the Red Sox at Turner Field.

Hanson pitched six innings of scoreless ball and recieved help from Chipper Jones and Garrett Anderson in the form of the long ball as the two solo homeruns were all that Atlanta would need in game three of their series with Boston.

Brad Penny was on the mound for Boston as the hefty righthander continued his success, even while recording a loss, as Penny (6-3) threw six innings of two-run ball while striking out two but giving up the two solo-blasts.  

David Ortiz continued his hitting pace as the Boston slugger has registered at least one hit in six of his last seven games.  Big Papi went 1-for-4 on the afternoon against Atlanta. Jason Varitek drove in the only run for Boston with an RBI single in the ninth inning to bring home Kevin Youkilis.  

The Red Sox head to Baltimore on Monday with the local nine squaring off against the Orioles at Camden Yards.  Jon Lester will be on the hill for Boston facing Jason Berken of the O’s.
(AP Photo)

Fenway Will Always Be Faithful to Big Papi

Sometimes, faith is rewarded.
David Ortiz taught us that. When things looked darkest, he swaggered up to the batter’s box, spit into his hands, clapped them together with the authority of Zeus unleashing a roll of thunder and proceeded to stroke the ball high and deep into the night, and out of Fenway Park. It was October 2004 and we were down 3 games to none in the ALCS to the New York Yankees, the game was tied in the 12th. This was not an unfamiliar situation, the pain and horror of 2003 was still fresh in our minds. Things looked darker than dark, we all know the story, we all remember that nauseating pit of fear in our stomachs as once again the Red Sox were well on their way to ripping our hearts out. David Ortiz took one swing and set the wheels of destiny in motion. Those were the days when even Superman and Chuck Norris wore Big Papi pajamas to bed at night.
There has been a lot of baseball played since those fateful days in 2004. For the most part, he cruised through the next few seasons, swatting 47 home runs and driving in a league leading 148 RBIs in 2005, leading the league in with 54 home runs and 137 in 2006, and hitting a career high .332 with another league leading statistic of an OBP of .445 in 2007. During these years he was a perennial All Star and MVP candidate. The Red Sox won another World Series in 2007 and life was pretty sweet for David Ortiz in Boston. Heading out of the 2007 season he needed surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee. After an unusually slow start in 2008, and a wrist injury that eventually needed surgery as well, it was clear he was not going to provide his usual game changing presence. He began to struggle and we were worried about this new Papi, but we managed to write it off to the injuries and had hopes for a brighter 2009. Unfortunately, 2009 did not start well for David Ortiz.
Just how bad was it? The beginning of the season (through May 31) saw a batting average of under .200, 48 strikouts in 208 at bats, only 18 RBIs, no home runs. The press started getting snarky, there were allusions to Mo Vaughn’s sudden decline and Jim Rice in the 80s, and there were speculations about Ortiz’s real age. It was said Big Papi had turned into Big Pop-Up. A home run on May 20 gave us hope. Fenway gave him a standing ovation and demanded a curtain call. The relief was palpable, but short lived. For the next two weeks Ortiz continued to struggle, he was dropped to 6th in the batting order, Boston fans walked a tight line between blind hope and total despair. June arrived and it was looking pretty bleak. However, hard work, determination and a little faith paid off.  Big Papi started to look like his old self again, batting .310 so far in the month of June, hitting 6 homers and driving in 16 runs.  We can cautiously say he’s turned the corner, he seems to have recovered his timing at the plate and a little bit of his swagger. Hopefully he continues on this path.
The most remarkable thing in all of this is we never stopped trying to believe in David Ortiz. Sure, we had our doubts about his ability to come back, but the fans rallied behind him, cheering him up to the plate for each at bat, and simply going quiet after each failure. No one knows how long this incredible patience would have lasted, and it was a result of the appreciation for everything David Ortiz has given us in the past, it made me proud to be a Red Sox fan. It is not often a player gets a free pass in Boston. In fact, it’s pretty much never. If you don’t perform, we generally decide we don’t like you and we get a little nasty, sometimes a lot nasty. The Red Sox, as an organization and usually with us fans in tow, have a history of running previously beloved star players out of town (see also: Garciaparra, Nomar). Things could have gotten ugly, watching Papi try to hit earlier this year was a frustrating, disappointing and depressing experience for everyone. It would have been easy for him to blame the past injuries, claim to be hurt again, and take the back door out of town. Luckily for us, David Ortiz seems to have rewarded our faith once again, nobody wanted to see Big Papi go down that way.


Dice-K put on 15 Day Disabled List

The Boston Red Sox placed right-hander Daisuke Matsuzaka on the 15-day disabled list Sunday with a mild shoulder strain, a day after the team announced it would hold Dice-K out of his next start.

But manager Terry Francona said before the Red Sox game that this likely wouldn’t be a quick fix.

“It’s not going to be a two-week DL thing,” Francona said, according to the Boston Globe. “We have a lot of work ahead of us to get him back to being Daisuke.”-Full Story

Takashi Saito To Be Traded?

Japanese Right-Hander Gaining Interest

The Boston Red Sox made it a point this past offseason to stockpile their pitching, and in particular, their bullpen.  With a plethora of arms in the starting rotation and bullpen, should Theo Epstein and the Red Sox pull the trigger on a trade that would send Takashi Saito out of Boston?

According to Chad Finn of the Boston Globe, Saito has gained interest from several teams throughout the league.  With Brad Penny on the trading block already, would it make sense for the Sox to trade a reliable reliever as well?

Only if it makes the team better.

Rumors have it that Saito has been linked to the Rangers in a deal that would send the Japanese right-hander to Texas for first basemen Hank Blalock.  With the 39-year-old relegated to backup closing duty and occasional setup man, the Sox don’t really need Saito. What the Red Sox may need is a bat off the bench or a corner infielder who can take some pressure off of the middle of the lineup.

Blalock, a 28-year-old, has spent his entire career at Texas battling injuries and inconsistency.  However, the switch-hitter can play both third and first base and possess a high slugging percentage.  Blalock is a career .273 hitter with 140 HRs.  If the Sox felt the need to add an extra bat, he would fit the profile especially if David Ortiz cannot snap out of his season-long slump.

Saito won’t be in Boston long as the right-hander is near retirement.  So a trade that would swap Saito with Blalock may not be only be of good interest for the Sox in the present, it may also help them down the road (like if Mike Lowell left after 2010 or Lars Anderson didn’t pan out).  

Boston may have a stockpile of pitching and the Sox obviously have some needs offensively and defensively.  So, maybe instead of trading away a streaking Brad Penny, Boston should look to a less important piece and part ways with Saito for the betterment of the present Red Sox and the future Red Sox.

What To Do, What To Do…

  What Are Boston’s Plans For John Smoltz?

In Major League Baseball, it is thought that pitching and defense wins championships. Hitting is just an added bonus.  So with John Smoltz set to return to the majors and most likely in the Red Sox starting rotation, is it safe to assume that Boston has too much starting pitching?

Nah, it can’t be.  Can it?

Truth be told, Theo Epstein and the Boston Red Sox find themselves in a healthy predicament.  Boston potentially has seven quality starters (I cringe to use quality in regards to Dice-K) that could be used in their five-man rotation.  Terry Francona has his five starters now with Beckett, Lester, Dice-K, Wakefield, and Penny, with the possible additions of Smoltz and Buchholz.  Most teams in the league would love to have three of these seven pitchers to set up their rotation, luckily for the Sox, they have all seven.

For the time being.

There are many options, courses of action, and possibilities that linger with this situation. One thing is for certain, however, and it’s that John Smoltz will be a starting pitcher for Boston.  The Red Sox signed Smoltz for the postseason but the veteran wants to get his feet wet before September and October, and all signs indicate that Smoltz is ready to pitch. Terry Francona is set to address the pitching situation tomorrow, so Sox fans have one more day to speculate on the decided course of action.

Some possible solutions go as follows:

1) The Sox trade Brad Penny in hopes of inserting Smoltz into the rotation while also solving a need at shortstop or DH.  

2) The Sox relegate Daisuke Matsuzaka to the bullpen, minor leagues, or DL in hopes of freeing up a spot in the rotation and solving Dice-K’s woes.

3) The Sox put Tim Wakefield in the bullpen, instead of Dice-K.  This one seems like the most logical but alternatively is the worse.  Wakefield has pitched well all season long and it would make no sense to punish one of your best starters.  Also, the guy would run through a brick wall for the Red Sox, so to ask him to sit in the bullpen for the rest of the season would not only be rude, it could be considered unlawful in the eyes of the baseball gods.

Time will only tell what the Red Sox brass decides to do.  Things could happen as early as today or by July 31st.  If the Sox wait for the latter, it could only help their chances at having the problem fix itself or having other teams become more desperate at acquiring one of their extra pieces.    

Oh what to do, what to do.

Someone Give This Guy A Black Eye

Idiot Yankee fan tosses grass seed in Fenway that he says is “Yankee Stadium” grass seed. 

I am not sure how you take grass seed, put it in a package with a Yankees logo on it and call it Yankee Stadium grass seed.  Someone explain that logic to me!

Track this guy down, tie him up, and feed him Fenway Park dirt until he gags.

His name is Ian Ferris and he is from Shelburne VT

Full Story